Sunday at dawn, May 5 2013, Syrian sources reported that the Israeli Air Force bombarded a Syrian army center north of Damascus, causing extensive damage.
The official Syrian News Agency (SANA) reported; “the new Israeli aggression on Syria comes to aid the terrorist groups that are being defeated by the army in various areas”, and added that the Israeli attack “is meant to foil the attempts of the Syrian army to restore security and stability”.
“This aggression proves Israel’s direct involvement in the conspiracy against Syria”, SANA reported, “This conspiracy serves Israel’s interests, the terrorist groups that army fighting against the Syrian army are directly financed and supported by regional and international countries, including Arab Gulf countries”.
The Syrian Human Rights Monitor, based in Britain, quoted eyewitnesses in Syria stating that the Israeli Air Force bombarded the Jimraya military base, and a nearby weapons facility, and at least two centers for the Syrian Presidential Guards.
Israel refused to comment on the attack, an Israeli army spokeswoman told Reuters; “Israel does not comment on such reports”.
Earlier in February of this year, the Syrian Ambassador to the United Nations filed an official complaint against Israel for bombarding a site in the country, and for violating Syrian airspace, and for bombarding a research center.
Israel claimed that it targeted what it called “a weapons convoy heading to Lebanon”, but Syria stated that the Israeli Air Force bombarded a military scientific center in a suburban area near the Syrian capital, Damascus. Two persons were killed, and several others were injured.
Israeli security officials claimed that the target was a convoy “carrying weapons that could change the rules of the game in the region”, including advanced Russian Sam 17 surface-to-air missiles that Syria was allegedly transporting to the Lebanon-based Hezbollah party.
Moshe Ya’alon, an ex-Israeli Chief of Staff and now Member of the Knesset, has been appointed Israel’s Minister of Defence in Netanyahu’s latest government coalition. Ya’alon replaces Ehud Barak.
Ya’alon was Chief of Staff of the IDF in July 2002 when Palestinian activist Salah Shehade was murdered in the Gaza Strip by a one tonne bomb dropped by an Israeli Air Force F-15 jet. Fourteen Palestinian civilians were also killed in the attack.
In 2005 a group of relatives of victims of the 1996 Israeli shelling of the Lebanese town of Qana, where some 106 civilians died, filed a suit demanding a jury trial against Ya’alon in Washington DC. Predictably, the case went no further. A year later in 2006 Ya’alon was visiting New Zealand on a fund-raising trip when an Auckland court issued a warrant for his arrest on charges relating to the Gaza Strip deaths. The warrant was over-ruled by New Zealand’s Attorney-General and Ya’alon was able to return to Israel. Then in October 2009 Ya’alon was forced to cancel a trip to the UK for fear of being arrested on war crime charges, again relating to the 2002 killings in the Gaza.
This man, who is pro-settlement, stridently anti-Iran, and fervently against the existence of any kind of Palestinian state, will be Israel’s next Defence Minister. This war criminal will probably be shaking President Obama’s hand when the President visits Israel next week.
No doubt more crimes will be planned when they meet.
“The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers plans to supervise construction of a five-story underground facility for an Israel Defense Forces complex, oddly named ‘Site 911,’ at an Israeli Air Force base near Tel Aviv,” Walter Pincus reported in the Washington Post a few days ago.
Apart from the extremely high-level of physical security at Site 911, it appears that the top secret facility will not want for less tangible forms of protection either. Describing the latest Corps of Engineers notice regarding the mysterious construction project, Pincus writes:
The Corps offered a lengthy description of the mezuzas the contractor is to provide “for each door or opening exclusive of toilets or shower rooms” in the Site 911 building. A mezuza (also spelled mezuzah) is a parchment which has been inscribed with Hebrew verses from the Torah, placed in a case and attached to a door frame of a Jewish family’s house as a sign of faith. Some interpret Jewish law as requiring — as in this case — that a mezuza be attached to every door in a house.
These mezuzas, notes the Corps, “shall be written in inerasable ink, on . . . uncoated leather parchment” and be handwritten by a scribe “holding a written authorization according to Jewish law.” The writing may be “Ashkenazik or Sepharadik” but “not a mixture” and “must be uniform.”
Also, “The Mezuzahs shall be proof-read by a computer at an authorized institution for Mezuzah inspection, as well as manually proof-read for the form of the letters by a proof-reader authorized by the Chief Rabbinate.” The mezuza shall be supplied with an aluminum housing with holes so it can be connected to the door frame or opening. Finally, “All Mezuzahs for the facility shall be affixed by the Base’s Rabbi or his appointed representative and not by the contractor staff.”
In an article on Chabad.org entitled “The Protective Power of Mezuzah,” Alexander Poltorak, who holds a PhD in theoretical physics and lectures on the intersection of science and Torah, explains:
The word “mezuzah” appears for the first time in the Bible in the account of the Exodus from Egypt. Before the last plague smiting the Egyptian firstborn, the Almighty forewarned the Jewish people to mark their doorposts with the blood of the sacrificial lamb so that the forces of destruction would pass over their houses. The Torah says:
And they shall take of the blood and they shall put it on the two mezuzoth (doorposts) and on the lintel… For the Lord will pass through to smite the Egyptians, and when He seeth the blood upon the lintel, and on the two doorposts, the Lord will pass over the door, and He will not allow the destroyer to come in unto your houses to smite [you]. (Exodus 12:7, 23)
This is why the Holiday of the Exodus is called Passover. The Mechilta 1 (as well as the Zohar) states that these verses are the source of the concept of mezuzah:
Now consider: The blood of the Passover sacrifice was but of little weight, for it was required but once, not for all generations, and by night only, not by day; yet He would ‘not allow the destroyer… to strike you.’ How much more will He not permit the destroyer into the house which bears a mezuzah, which is of greater weight, seeing that the Divine Name is repeated there ten times, it is there by day and night, and it is a law for all generations.
We see in this biblical account and the above commentary the direct relationship between the mitzvah of mezuzah and Divine protection. A mezuzah affixed to the doorpost as commanded by G-d at Sinai still has the power to “not allow the destroyer to come into your houses to smite you”.
Interestingly, the article suggests that there may be an esoteric connection between Site 911′s U.S. taxpayer-funded mezuzahs and its odd name. According to Poltorak,
It is easily understood that a non-kosher mezuzah does not possess any protective qualities. Therefore when, G‑d forbid, someone is sick or some other misfortune befalls, the very first thing (after calling 911) is to check the mezuzoth in the house. This has been Jewish custom from time immemorial.
In a footnote on the U.S. emergency number, he adds:
Incidentally, this number, 911, is the sum of the 713 letters, 170 words and 22 lines in the mezuzah together with 6 letters of the Hebrew word mezuzoth, when spelled Mem, Zayin, Vav, Zayin, Vav, Tav as in Deut. XI, 20.
It’s unclear, however, if Netanyahu had the protective power of mezuzah in mind when he foresaw that 9/11 was going to be “very good” for the Jewish state.
- [UK-911-Truth] US to build mysterious ‘Site 911′ in Israel – Sheila C. (inquiringminds.cc)
- Why Is The US Building A Secret $100 Million Underground Facility Outside Tel Aviv? (businessinsider.com)
During the Napoleonic Wars, when it was reported that the French were preparing to invade England, Admiral John Jervis said “I do not say they the French cannot come–I only say they cannot come by sea.” Barring the movement of a regiment of sans culottes across the English Channel by a fleet of Montgolfier balloons, the Jervis comment pretty much summed up the limits to French ambitions as long as Britannia ruled the waves.
A similar bit of military overreach appears to be surrounding the alleged planning by the Israelis to stage an air assault on Iran’s nuclear facilities. The US media and even some Pentagon spokesmen have suggested that Israel cannot do the job alone, but the problem is much larger than that, leading to the question whether Israel can do it at all. Israel has over 400 fighters, but many of them are configured to establish air superiority over an opponent by shooting down opposing aircraft and disabling air defense facilities on the ground. They are fighters supporting ground operations first with a limited secondary capability as bombers.
Israel has no dedicated bomber force but it does have an estimated 125 advanced F-15I and F-16I’s, which have been further enhanced through special avionics installed by the Israel Aircraft Industry to improve performance over the types of terrain and weather conditions prevailing in the Middle East. The planes are able to fly long range missions and very capable in a bombing role but they do have their limitations.
It is generally agreed that any attempt to destroy the hardened and well-defended Iranian nuclear sites would require use of the United States-provided GBU-28, a five thousand-pound laser-guided smart bomb that can be directed to the target. The GBU-28 is regarded as accurate and able to penetrate deep into a target, which is why it has been described as the “bunker buster.” Exact performance specifications of the weapon are classified, but it is believed to be able to penetrate twenty feet of reinforced concrete. Whether that would be enough to take out the expected Iranian targets at the research centers in Natanz and Fordow, the heavy water facility at Arak, and the operating reactor at Bushehr is unknown and some analysts have opined that it might require multiple hits on the same spot to do the job. As Bushehr, the most accessible target of the three, is an active reactor, an attack would release considerable contamination.
Assuming that the US has supplied Israel with a sufficient supply of GBU-28s to go around to all the available aircraft, there remain two additional problems with the weapon that impact Israeli ability to stage an attack. First, it is so heavy that only Israel’s twenty-five F15Is are able to carry it, one bomb for each plane. For optimum use against a target, the GBU-28 also requires a clear line of sight, which means that the plane has to be flying low and relatively slowly, making the fighters more vulnerable to ground defenses, particularly with their maneuverability limited due to the bomb load. This first problem creates the second problem, which is that an attack will require a separate fleet of F-16 fighters unencumbered by GBU-28s to go in first and suppress the defensive fire, further complicating the mission.
Assuming that all the Israeli fighters capable of carrying the GBU-28 are available, which would not normally be the case, twenty-five bombs might not be enough to do critical damage to the targets. Perfect intelligence is required to place the bombs where they will do the most harm, an element that will likely be lacking with the underground targets. Some bombs will miss while others might not function perfectly and will detonate before penetration. And before the bombs are dropped the planes have to arrive over Iran.
Let’s assume that the Israelis opt for an attacking force of 50 fighters, one third of which would be designated for suppression of ground fire. The planes would be equipped with conformal fuel tanks built into the fuselages for extended range. They would also have auxiliary tanks that could be jettisoned when empty. Nevertheless, the attacking force would have to take off from Israeli airfields and then almost immediately refuel either over Israel or above the Mediterranean because fighters burn considerable fuel in getting off the ground. Refueling from Israel’s twelve modified Boeing 707 and C-130 tankers would take some time even though a plane using a flying boom for refueling can top up in thirty seconds. It is the maneuvering and connecting to enable the refueling that takes considerably longer. Refueling all 50 planes will be a major task essential to the success of the mission and while the planes are in the air and forming up they will be detected by radar in Egypt and Lebanon, information that one must assume is likely to be shared with Iran.
The objectives in Iran are more than 1,000 miles from Israel and the planes must be able to spend some time over their targets, which is why the refueling is necessary. But even then there would be problems if the Israeli jets have to engage any enemy planes either en route or over Iran. They would have to drop their auxiliary tanks to take defensive action and would probably have to return immediately to Israel.
There are three possible routes to Iran. One route to the south violates Saudi airspace and it is by no means certain that the very capable 80 plus F-15s of the Saudi Air Force would not scramble to intercept. The other is to the north over Syria, skirting the Turkish border. Syria is unlikely to be able to interfere much given its current troubles though it does possess some capable Russian made anti-aircraft missiles, but a Turkish response to possible airspace violations cannot be ruled out. The third and most likely option is to fly along Syria’s southern border, avoiding Jordan, and then through Iraq, which has only limited air defense capabilities since the US military’s departure at the end of 2011.
Israel’s previous attacks on nuclear facilities in Iraq and Syria hit targets that were above ground while relying on the element of complete surprise. Upon arrival over Iran, the Israelis would be confronted by something quite different, targets that are deep underground or hardened with reinforced concrete and further protected by layers of ground defenses that will be alert and waiting. Iran is known to have batteries of Russian supplied SA-5s for high altitude targets and SA-15s for lower level attackers. Both systems are regarded as very effective. It has also been alleged that Tehran has been able to acquire advanced Russian S-300 long range missiles, which, if true, would pose a serious problem for the Israeli fighters. The Israelis would have to be very lucky to avoid losses.
Assuming that the Israeli Air Force is able to carry out the refueling, fly successfully to Iran, suppress ground defenses, and carry out its bombing, it still has to return home, again flying over Iraq with every air force and air defense battery in the region on full alert. Depending on how much maneuvering was required while over Iran, some planes might well need to be refueled again which would mean deploying highly vulnerable tankers over Iraq or Jordan.
Back at home the Israelis would have to expect volleys of missiles of all kinds and varieties launched by Hezbollah in Lebanon to retaliate for the attack. The US-funded Iron Dome defense missile system would intercept many of the incoming missiles, but some would certainly get through and Israeli civilian casualties could be high.
It is clear that staging the attack on Iran would be fraught with difficulties and intelligence estimates suggest that at best the bombing would set back the Iranian ability to construct a weapon by only a year or two. Plus the attack would make certain that Iran would pursue a weapon, if only for self-defense, an essentially political decision that has not yet been made by the country’s leadership.
Israel has other military assets–including ballistic missiles and submarine-launched cruise missiles–that could be used to attack Iran, that would invite retaliation from Iran’s own ballistic and cruise missiles, considerably complicating post-attack developments. There is also the Israeli nuclear weapons capability, use of which would invite worldwide condemnation and instantly escalate the fighting into a regional or even broader conflict.
On balance, all of the above suggests that the frequently repeated threat by the Israeli leadership to attack Iran is not a serious plan to take out Iran’s nuclear sites. It is more likely a long running disinformation operation to somehow convince the United States to do the job or a deliberate conditioning of the Israeli and US publics to be supportive if some incident can be arranged to trigger an armed conflict. If one believes the two presidential candidates based on what they said in Monday’s debate, both have more-or-less conceded the point, agreeing that they would support militarily any Israeli attack on Iran. Whether Romney or Obama is actually willing to start a major new war in the Middle East is, of course, impossible to discern.
Philip Giraldi, a former CIA officer, is executive director of the Council for the National Interest.